As I post this first blog article of the new year, the U.S. government remains partially shut down. The issue at stake, as you know, is the funding for the wall the President insists is necessary for U.S. security.
The President’s Position
On Dec. 27, DJT tweeted that “we desperately need Border Security and a Wall on the Southern Border. Need to stop Drugs, Human Trafficking, Gang Members & Criminals from coming into our Country.”
There are at least two major problems with that tweet, which embodies the position DJT has expressed in various ways and in various places.
On the one hand, he has implied—or said fairly directly—that opposition to his plans to build a wall is, as a fact checker wrote (here), “tantamount to not wanting any border security at all.” That is patently not the case.
The main problem is the flimsy factual support for the claim that a wall would significantly reduce the problems the President enumerated. There is, certainly, a need to stop the problems Trump listed in his 12/27 tweet, but he has given no evidence that a wall would decisively decrease the number of unsavory immigrants entering the U.S.
The Democrats’ Position
In 1914, the inimitable American poet Robert Frost wrote “Mending Wall,” a poem that begins, “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall.” That widely analyzed poem is about two neighbors, one a progressive who questions the need for a wall and the other a traditionalist who repeats the words, “Good fences make good neighbors.”
The current political wrangling in Washington is about far more, and something far more complex, than a rock wall between two neighbors in rural New England. Yet, it is quite clear that the Democratic leaders of the Senate and the House do not love the President’s insistence on building a wall.
Sen. Schumer and Rep. Pelosi do not, of course, want criminal elements to come into the U.S. freely, in spite of what DJT has said. They are clear, however, in their opinion that border security would be best achieved by measures other than a multi-billion-dollar wall.
Which Position is More Compassionate?
In addition to, and directly related to, the issue of “the wall,” is the whole complex matter of responding to the desperate people, including many parents with young children, from Central American countries seeking asylum in the U.S.
|One of 2018’s unforgettable images: Maria Meza and her twin daughters sprint from tear gas lobbed|
at the border wall between the U.S and Mexico in Tijuana, Nov. 25, 2018.
A major purpose of DJT’s proposed wall is to keep many of those distressed people out of the U.S.
Perhaps I missed it, but I haven’t seen anything in the news media about the President or his Republican supporters making any statements indicating any concern for such desperate people.
Where’s the compassion that would seem normal for people of goodwill?
What distresses me more than the apparent lack of compassion by political leaders is the support they are receiving by mostly conservative Christians.
Almost daily I see Facebook friends, including some of my cousins, who strongly support the President and his plans for a wall on the southern border.
Especially to them I post this question again: Where’s the compassion?
I encourage such Christians to read (here) “What child is this? A Christmas reflection” by Marv Knox, a venerable Baptist journalist. Knox writes graphically about his visit last month with “survivors of the infamous Central American caravan.”
In July of last year, Julie Pennington-Russell, pastor of the First Baptist Church in D.C., wrote a blog article titled “Welcoming the Stranger.” She quotes the Pew Research Center’s report indicating that the demographic least supportive of welcoming refugees is white evangelical Christians.
Sad! (as you know who has often said).Where’s the compassion?